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Posts Tagged ‘Cotes du Rhone’

Ogier’s must try 2014 Le Temps est Venu, CdR

The 2014 Stephane Ogier, Les Temps est Venu, Cotes du Rhone is a wine  you must try.  When coupled with the 2015 Domaine des Pasquiers, Cote du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu you can taste how rocking the Plan de Dieu region is!  Right now the wine offers up tense red fruit flavors with good depth behind them.  We kept revisiting the bottle until there was nothing left.  I recommend you grab several bottles from MacArthur Beverages.

2014 Stephane Ogier, Les Temps est Venu, Cotes du Rhone – $16
Imported by Robert Kacher.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and a dollop of Cinsault.  The fruit is largely sourced from Plan de Dieu, fermented in concrete vats where it is also aged for 7 months.  Alcohol 13.8%.  The nose is still tight but the wine is flavorful in the mouth.  There are deep red fruit flavors that have a dry edge and cranberry-like brightness.  The wine is tart on the tongue building depth and weight with a certain tannic structure and acidity that will let it age.  It is quite drinkable now thanks to the grapey tension from the start.  *** Now – 2022.

2015 Jamet: Cotes du Rhone blanc and Syrah

September 18, 2017 Leave a comment

The pair of 2015 Domaine Jamet wines featured in this post are very different.  Not just in terms of color but nature.  Over the course of three days, the 2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc remains very focused on only revealing its primary components which are flinty flavors of lemon and other white fruit.  It is, in short, a wine with good future potential that you should just leave buried in your cellar.  The 2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP is a wine to drink now.  The rounded flavors and infusion of fat enable this to be a wine for drinking now.  However, the generosity of the 2015 vintage does not take away from the Jamet subtlety.   This subtlety of fruit coupled with graphite and fat place this wine unmistakably in the north.  I recommend you drink this delicious wine as soon as you return with a bottle. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Cotes du Rhone Blanc – $30
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is a blend of 55% Marianne, 30% Viognier, 10% Roussanne, 5% Grenache Blanc sourced from vines averaging 10 years of age.  It was vinified in both stainless steel and oak barriques.  Alcohol 13%.  This is a pale straw color.  There is a flinty, fruited started with a hint of wood by the middle.  The wine is almost tart with lemon and white fruit flavors.  With extended air it remains very focused, eventually taking on some fine texture through the aftertaste. ***(*) 2019 – 2029.

2015 Domaine Jamet, Syrah, Collines Rhodaniennes IGP – $25
Imported by Domaine Select. This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from 12 year old vines fermented in stainless steel then aged for one year in oak barrels. Alcohol 12%.  The fat on the nose makes way to rounded flavors of minerals, graphite, and red fruit. There is also a subtle fat vein that works is way through the wine.  The flavors become finely perfumed as the wine becomes dry towards the finish.  For the near term.  *** 2017-2020.

The 2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone is an exciting preview of a new vintage

The 2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone is an exciting introduction to the excellent 2016 Rhone vintage.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was aged for six months in cement tanks making it one of the earliest examples of the vintage available to drink.  It offers deep grapey, fresh flavors with additional complexity from hints of fat and minerals. That is a lot to offer at $13 per bottle!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was fermented in then aged in cement vats for six months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This grapey, fresh wine has a fine texture that makes it palpably thick with suggestions of racy flavors.  It wraps things up with a minerally blue finish.  There are some tannins and fat but the grapey flavor indicates it should be drunk young.  With air the depth of the flavor is evident throughout.  *** Now – 2019.

The generous 2015 Pere Caboche, Cotes du Rhone at $11

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

I am in need of inexpensive, tasty wine.  With kitchen work in plan for this Spring I need every cent for cabinets, stone, and labor.  Priced at $11 the 2015 Domaine Pere Caboche, Cotes du Rhone is more generous than the other pair of 2015 Cotes du Rhone for daily drinking.  You get mouth filling, grapey flavors yet there is a serious quality lurking in there.  With lower acidity this is a smooth wine for drinking this year.  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Domaine Pere Caboche, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Monsieur Touton Selection.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Carignan, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault.   Alcohol 14%.  There are serious flavor undertones to this generally youthful and grapey flavor wine.  It is mouth filling with smoothed edges and just enough acidity to match the density.  The flavors turn riper and bluer towards the finish.  ** Now.

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Cotes du Rhone for daily drinking

February 24, 2017 1 comment

My wife and I drink wine on a daily basis.  If I can save money on our daily drinkers then I can spend more money on older vintages.  In my area an $11 bottle represents the lowest price achievable for a wine of quality.  The 2015 Camille Cayran, Le Pas de la Beaume, Cotes du Rhone is one of those wines.  It requires a few hours of air after which it is an exuberant, black fruited wine.  You should buy it by the case then drink it over the next few years. The 2015 Domaine de Belle Feuille, Cotes du Rhone is another solid wine at this budget price point.  It is quite focused perhaps in need of six months of age.  My recommendation is to buy the Cayran.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Camille Cayran, Le Pas de la Beaume, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by G&B Importers.  This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 30% Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  Tasted over two days this eventually reveals exuberant flavors of black grapey fruit which are subtly ripe.  With good grip at the start, the acidity keeps the wine crisp matching the level of ripe structure which provides texture to the flavor in the finish.  It wraps up with black/purple fruit, dry stones, and a racy suggestion.  **(*) Now – 2021.

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2015 Domaine de Belle Feuille, Cotes du Rhone – $11
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Carignan.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This wine remains very focused with a black fruited start that moves to a core of ripe black, powdery flavors then a slightly bitter and mineral finish.  ** Now – 2019.

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A pair of young Rhones

January 24, 2017 Leave a comment

The 2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cote du Rhone is the latest iteration of a wine I commonly open up at home.  The 2015 vintage reminds me, in part, of the 2009 vintage, in which there was no Mourvedre.   Whatever the 2015 is composed of, it offers less of the common dark, earth note and more pepper and structure.  As such, it is a grapier wine which should develop over the short term and drink for longer.  The 2014 Domaine de Mourchon, Cote du Rhone also offers pepper accented youthful flavors.   Both of these are solid, week day wines you can drink over the next several years.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2015 Domaine La Garrigue, Cuvee Romaine, Cote du Rhone – $15
Imported by Eric Solomon/European Cellars.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Pepper notes on the nose make way to powerful, grapey flavors of moderate weight and grip.  There are white pepper and ink notes with a mineral underpinning and very fine structure of tannins.  The combination of structure and rapier acidity will allow this to mature for a few years.  **(*) Now – 2022.

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2014 Domaine de Mourchon, Cote du Rhone – $13
Imported by Oenos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah sourced from vines averaging 40 years of age which was raised entirely in concrete.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose is a bit lifted and certainly youthful.  In the mouth are flavors of youthful tasting tart red fruit then tooty fruity mixed with white pepper.  The wine has textured grip and a youthful structure of fine tannins.  The wine is not quite grapey so perhaps young and primary.  ** Now – 2019.

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Eclectic by Any Measure, a Dinner with Mannie Berk

November 29, 2016 1 comment

The wax seal of the 1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva Della Castellana, Barolo

The wax seal of the 1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva Della Castellana, Barolo

With Mannie Berk, The Rare Wine Co, in town for the Unveiling of the George Washington Special Reserve Madeira we decided to get together for a small dinner.  The theme was eclectic both in region and particularly in vintage.  I do not know if it is more interesting that there were wines from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s to write the least or that two were from the venerable 1955 vintage and two from 1969.  The quality of the wines in the glass varied but the individual personalities spoke, creating such interest that we stayed up very late that night.

All of the wines were opened at the table to be drunk in any desired order.  I have organized my notes in vintage order first by white then red and finally the sole Madeira.  Finally, I have limited my comments to a handful of wines for brevity.

We kicked things off with the 1985 Laurent Perrier, Grand Siecle, Champagne.  Grand Siecle was conceived in 1955 as top cuvee to be blended from three of the very best vintages.  So our bottle is a particular anomaly being from the single, outstanding 1985 vintage.  The cork was firmly seated, refusing to budge, and ultimately twisted into two pieces which were then dug out.  Perhaps the tightness of the cork ensures an impeccable seal for the quality of the bubbles is outstanding.  This is no recent disgorgement.  At best it is savory, complex, and racy.

The 1955 Chateau Carbonneiux, Graves solicited many remarks as the bottle exuded promise.  The fill was high, the color youthful, and the cork well-seated against the neck.  From the last vintage before the Perrin family purchased the estate, this mostly Sauvignon Blanc based wine was fermented and raised in oak.  The nose did remind me a bit of gasoline before it righted itself.  With clean, floral flavors of lemon and even some weight it is in fascinating shape.  It is a bit simple and short making it more of an academic reference point than quenching old wine.

Inside of the tag for the 1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva Della Castellana, Barolo

Inside of the tag for the 1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva Della Castellana, Barolo

Moving back in time, the oldest red wine came in a squashed 66 cl bottle.  The 1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva della Castellana, Barolo is from one of the greatest Barolo vintages of the 20th century.  The Reserva della Castellana represents a supposed secret stash of top wine secured behind a lock of which there was one key.  Quantities of wine were released each year with the serial numbers recorded in a book.  Bottle #2506 improved in the decanter.  This salty, zippy wine is in the stage beyond fruit of bottle aged flavors.  It is enjoyable, though not remarkable.

I suspect our bottle of 1955 Torres, Gran Coronas, Gran Reserva does not represent the heights this wine can achieve.  A bit of nail-polish and oxidation is present both on the nose and in the mouth.  Beyond that, though, the wine is quite rich and savory.  Time in the decanter broadens the wine.  I would certainly drink this wine again.

The pair of wines from the 1969 vintage were great fun.  The 1969 Domaine de Mont-Redon, Chateauneuf du Pape adds to my recent experience with 1960s Chateauneuf du Pape.  Unlike the examples I have tried from the 1978 vintage, this is an original release.  Mont-Redon from the 1950s and 1960s are praised by Rhone lovers.  John Livingstone-Learmonth found them to have strength and concentration with Robert Parker writing they were amongst the finest wines of France.  During this period the wines were 80% Grenache, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Syrah.

The back label of the 1969 J. Pedroncelli, Pinot Noir, Private Stock, Sonoma County

The back label of the 1969 J. Pedroncelli, Pinot Noir, Private Stock, Sonoma County

The second wine from this vintage came from California.  J. Pedroncelli was founded in 1927 was John Pedroncelli planted 135 acres of vines on hillsides near Dry Creek.  According to Robert Lawrence Balzer, the site reminded him of his native Lombardy.  The vineyard would receive the fog that moved up the Russian River which then receded to provide sunshine.  The coolness and warmth was found to make “grapes richly concentrated with flavor” when Robert L. Balzer first visited in 1975.  According to Charles L. Sullivan, this was the first vineyard to be planted with Pinot Noir in Northern Sonoma after the Repeal of Prohibition.

Robert L. Balzer’s visit was prompted both by his enjoyment of the wines and the fact that they tended to place well in competitions.  Nathan Chroman was chairman of a few competitions who noted the difficulty of growing Pinot Noir in California.  In 1972, when Nathan Chroman tasted through 23 California Pinot Noirs, he found the 1969 Pedroncelli Pinot Noir a wine to lay down.  Robert L. Balzer found the 1972 vintage in need of age as well.  I doubt either of them expected the 1969 J. Pedroncelli, Pinot Noir, Private Stock, Sonoma County to be drinking with full vigor nearly 50 years later.

The Pedroncelli is a fun wine to taste with the Mont Redon.  They both smell of similar age and a traditional style of winemaking.  The Mont-Redon is more round, with sweet fruit whereas the Pedroncelli is vigorous and grippy with the addition of leather and animale flavors.  John Winthrop Haeger offers one possibility for the longevity of the Pedroncelli, in the 1960s the Pinot Noir bottles included a hefty dose of Zinfandel.

The longevity is also, of course, due to the winemaking.  This wine was made by the sons of the founder John Pedroncelli who followed the traditions and styles set by their father.  It was only in 1968 that Pedroncelli purchased their first French oak barrels and began switching their old Redwood tanks to stainless steel.  This was the start of the American wine boom that would see a year after year increase in vineyard acreage and number of Californian wineries.  Thus the Pedroncelli marks the end of a phase and so does the Mont-Redon for the winemaking changed in the 1970s towards producing an early drinking style.  After tasting these two wines I naively wonder why change?

I have become a firm believer that when a tasting of old vintages is finished with a dessert wine, it should be of similar or older age.  What a treat then to have a glass of 1934 Cossart Gordon & Cia., Bual, Madeira.  From an excellent vintage, this is a Madeira that excels on the nose.  Old Madeira fills your nose and the air around you, transporting you to a traditional period without the need to actively smell your glass.

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1985 Laurent Perrier, Grand Siecle, Champagne
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  The very fine, lively bubbles are crisp, precise, and vigorous.  With a bright entry, this saline and savory wine mixed baking spiced flavors with a racy body.  With air the bubbles remain undiminished but the complexity comes out and the wine develops even more racy body, wrapping it all up with a mature finish.  Drinking fantastically right now.  **** Now – 2021.

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1955 Chateau Carbonneiux, Graves
Shipped by Alexis Lichine.  Imported by Clairborne Imports.  An excellent looking bottle.  The light amber color defies age and matches the lemon and floral tree flavors.  The wine has weight, drapes the tongue, and almost becomes racy.  I think the Semillon is coming through.  It is, though, a bit simple with a short finish.  ** Now.

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1996 Nicolas Joly, Savennieres Coulee de Serrant
Imported by The Rare Wine co. Alcohol 14%.  This is a round wine with perfumed flavors of apple and mature lemon.  It is round, fairly clear, and mature with a racy vigor in the finish.  It seems to be all about the fabulous texture. **** Now – 2022.

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2004 Domaine Leflaive, Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru
Imported by Wilson Daniels.  This somewhat complex wine mixes lemon flavors with unintegrated oak.  It is taut in the middle, leaning towards the acidic side of things before taking on some cream in the end.  It is, perhaps, in need of time.  ***(*) 2020-2025.

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1947 Marchesi di Barolo, Reserva della Castellana, Barolo
Imported by T. Elenteny Imports.  The dark core hints at life.  In the mouth this salty wine reveals how it improved with time in decanter.  It is all about bottle aged flavors with tangy acidity giving a zippy personality.  The mouth remains but the flavors ultimately thin out.  *** Now.

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1955 Torres, Gran Coronas, Gran Reserva, Penedas
Imported by Forman Bros. Inc. Alcohol 12.65%.  The color is deep.  The nose offers up barnyard and some not-quite-right aromas of nail polish but is still enjoyable.  Slightly oxidized in the mouth this is clearly from a rich wine.  It is savory with acidity and even improved a touch in the decanter.  But the oxidized hint is there and the finish is short.  It is easy to imagine other examples being very good.  *** Now.

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1969 Domaine de Mont-Redon, Chateauneuf du Pape
From a Belgian cellar.  Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 13%.  A proper set of aromas which are animale.  There is round, mouth filling sweet fruit with a subtle hint of Kirsch, and wood notes.  The fruit resolves to be sweet strawberries.  This is clearly a beautiful wine in fine shape which tightens with air.  **** Now.

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1969 J. Pedroncelli, Pinot Noir, Private Stock, Sonoma County
Alcohol 12%.  This smells proper and of a wine-making style that no longer exists.  With air this old wine smells of leather.  In the mouth this is a vibrant wine with taut, grippy flavors of complex red fruit, leather, animale, and more sweetness.  It has fine texture and life. Our bottle is in fine shape and capable of drinking at this level for years to come.  **** Now – 2022.

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1988 Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino
Imported by The Rare Wine Co.  With one of the youngest profiles this wine offers attractive, fruit driven flavors which focus in on violets.  I would say it became younger with air. ***(*) Now – 2026.

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1990 Chateau de Fonsalette, Syrah, Reservee, Cotes du Rhone
Shipped by Allyn & Scott Wines Ltd. Imported by Wine Cellars LTD. Alcohol 14%.  Ah, there is some of that Rayas character on the nose!  This is a mature wine with youthful vigor.  It is a little round but still possesses tannic grip.  With air this exhibits spectacular body with articulate and textured flavor.  The acidity is spot on as this wine enters its second, mature phase of life.  After a few hours of air this is lovely.  **** Now – 2022.

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1934 Cossart Gordon & Cia., Bual, Madeira
Shipped by Allyn & Scott Wines. Imported by Wine Cellars LTD. Alcohol 20%.  A lovely nose of moderately pungent aromas of caramel, orange, damp campfire, and hints of sweet leather.  Flavors of leather mix with a focused, weighty body but the acidity builds until the finish where it becomes prominent and almost searing in the aftertaste.  The aftertaste is of citric flavors and a persistent sweetness. ***(*) Now – whenever.